“Humans have a natural affinity for rain, grounded in its necessity for civilization and agriculture. Thomas Jefferson constantly watched the sky from his Monticello home in Virginia, where cerulean thunderclounds build along the Blue Ridge Mountains as if matched by Picasso. Jefferson fretted over cloudless days the way farmers do. He found relief when storms returned, carrying moisture from the yet-mysterious West. His letters often closed with a word on the rain – or the lack.” – Cynthia Barnett


Living in the Pacific Northwest, I have always loved the rain. It reminds me of home, leaves the fresh air feeling clean, crisp, and revitalizing. Nonetheless, I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett. The book covers the history of rain in a completely fascinating (and unexpectedly beautiful) way. With an examination of everything from how rain has influenced civilization to how rain on Mars is different, this book covers everything about precipitation that I could want to know. Rain as a form of weather, rain as an inspirational tool, rain as a historical factor, and even rain as a necessity for agriculture. All of these are covered in Barnett’s book that lovingly examines something that we take for granted…and makes me feel a bit more appreciative of every drop.

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